Not a gluten-free trail

Tags: — Jeff @ 12:27

A desert bush with reddish-green berries

Apparent (?) prickly pear cacti

Prickly pear cactus

A green plant with lavender flowers

A thick, prickly pear-looking cactus with bright pink flowers that I don't think actually is prickly pear

Something that looks like a tall (and not wide) bright red lettuce

Fragile, pale yellow/pink bulbous flowers

Pasta, tortillas, and rice that are most definitely full of gluten

Sitting cool at mile 444 right now. I was aiming to be at the Sierras by June 19 or 27, but the snow course I signed up for then got canceled, so I’m in no rush. Might slow down for particular recommended attractions, but otherwise the plan is consistent 20+-mile days.


I’ve stopped hiking the PCT

Tags: — Jeff @ 16:47

Every year’s PCT is different. The path routinely changes, mostly as fresh trail is built to replace substandard trail (or no trail at all, if the prior trail was a road walk). But the reason for an ever-shifting PCT, even within hiking seasons, should be obvious to any California resident: fires.

The 2013 Mountain Fire near Idyllwild substantially impacted the nearby trail. A ten-mile stretch of trail is closed to hikers even today, apparently (per someone I talked to at the outfitter in Idyllwild) because the fire burned so hot that essentially all organic matter was destroyed, so they have to rebuild the entire trail to have even a usable tread. (The entire section is expected to open midsummer next year – too late for northbound thru-hikers, but maybe not for southbounders.)

A trail-closure sign

These circumstances lead to an alternate route for hikers to use. Not all do: many hikers simply hitchhike past the ten closed miles and the remote fifteen miles before them.

A temporary-reroute sign

But technically, there’s an official reroute, and I’ve nearly completed it. Mostly it involves lots of walking on the side of roads. The forest service dirt roads are rough but generally empty, so not the worst. The walking on a well-traveled highway with no usable shoulder, however, was the least enjoyable hiking I’ve ever done. (I mean ever.) I really can’t disagree with the people who just hitchhiked to Idyllwild and skipped it all.

I’ll be very glad to get back on the real trail several miles from now.


Guys! The Mojave Desert is hot and dry. Who knew?

Four days in, 77mi so far, at Julian overnight. Longest waterless stretch was 17.8mi, but I did end up only drinking the water I started with on the first 20mi day, so I suppose it was as if it were a 20mi waterless stretch, even if water was plentiful. (That said, this year was so rainy/snowy that a ton of water sources that usually would be dry, are still running now.)

Starting group picture

First rail crossing

Not a rattlesnake across the trail

A PCT sign that says

Unexploded military ordnance nearby! Woo!

An overlook, with other hiker trash in the foreground

View on a valley

Overnight campsite at sunset - good view, but very windy

Campsite in morning

Prickly pear-looking cactus

And, my overnight lodgings in Julian:

Overnight on the floor of a small restaurant